Spend Less Save More: Spreadsheets and couponing

Just some quick reason and ways to use a spreadsheet to track your savings.

1. Instant gratification

Knowing that you’re savings always inspires me to keep it up so by keeping track I find myself savings more often. For example, here is how I entered a recent receipt from Wal-Mart on my spreadsheet:  cost before coupons: $8.86, minus coupons; $7.00, final out of pocket cost: $1.86. Percentage saved: 79%

2.  Stops overspending

 I was reviewing my spreadsheet for this month and saw a receipt for $256.00.That is much more than I normally spend at one time, so I pulled the receipt to see where my money went. There were several stock-up deals, some great prices on meats, and toilet paper was on sale. The money was well spent, but that red flag on my spreadsheet helped me make sure I wasn’t mindlessly going over my budget.

3. Track rebates

Set up your spreadsheet with a rebate column so you can track the amount of your rebate and when it was mailed and received. Rebates help your bottom line, so it’s important to track them carefully.

 4. Accountability

I can look at my spreadsheet and see how much money I have left to spend for the month, so I know when it’s time to slow down my spending and use rolling rewards,  and gift cards to get the items I want and still stay within my budget.

5. Paperless tracking

I calculate only my cash or checking receipts using my spreadsheets so I keep track of my debit card receipts by using my bank account. I only use my debit card for online transactions this way I have a receipt online and on my online bank account. This helps me know where I spend and it helps keep track of my online payments like phone, internet and for me satellite TV. I basically use it to pay my bills so this is the least used account. Keeping track of cash flow is important so the spreadsheet is always a great option for that.

6. Calculate your savings percentage

Set up your spreadsheet to track how much you saved on each purchase. I log store discounts and coupons for each transaction to find my percentage savings. My target is at least 50 percent savings, and my goal is 75 percent. Look below the total on your receipt and you will find your store savings and coupon savings. 

7. Transitional changes

Some months I may spend more because of holidays or birthdays. Some months are shorter, so I might save more money in February than I do in March. Sales are cyclical, and you can adjust your budget accordingly. Your spreadsheet will help you see how fluctuations in your monthly expenditures tend to even out in the long run.

 You can use Google Sheets for access to your spreadsheet from any device.

 Here are some basic instructions
-Insert item description in the “item” column
-Insert price of individual item in the “price” column
-Insert quantity of item required by coupon in the “quantity” column
-Insert coupon value in the “coupon” column

I have formatted the final price column to automatically calculate the out of pocket expense/profit. If the item is a money-maker the final price field will be green.

*Special note about the quantity field: this field is intended for coupons that specify you must buy a certain quantity of an item. Example: Save $0.75 when you buy 2. You would input 2 in the quantity field to find out the final price of all items.

To download your free spreadsheet visit the download page at www.where2save.com

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